On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted 52-45 to elevate Alison Nathan to the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, making her only the second openly LGBT+ woman to serve on a federal appeals court.
The vote was mainly on party lines. However, Senate Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and John Kennedy of Louisiana voted for her appointment.
Previously, Nathan presided over the sex abuse trial of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted on Dec. 20, 2021 on five out of six counts for assisting Jeffery Epstein in sexually abusing minors.
Nathan was nominated by President Joe Biden, having been recommended by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who previously advised President Barack Obama in 2011 to make her a district judge. Nathan is the fourth judge nominated by Biden to win confirmation to the 2nd Circuit. She follows Beth Robinson who became the first LGBTQ+ woman to serve on the federal appeals court when she was confirmed last year.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in December of last year, Republicans raised concerns about Nathan’s decision to grant inmates compassionate release early in 2020 during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters reports. They also expressed issues with Nathan’s stances on immigration and gun rights.
Nathan explained that those who wish to better understand her need only look at her record of more than 3,000 cases, which has demonstrated the type of judge she is. She also cited the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who she once clerked for, as who she models herself after.